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10 Effective Strategies for Ethically Collecting Customer Data and Building Trust

By Umbrella Staff on Apr 30, 2024

To be successful as a digital marketer, you must be proficient in collecting customer data. When you have information about your clients’ customers, you can better choose what channels to use to reach them, what products and services to feature to each audience segment, what problems you can solve for them, how to influence them to buy and how best to personalize your messages to them.

But collecting customer data can be sensitive. If you don’t gather enough data, your marketing will not be effective. But if you overreach, you will turn your clients’ customers against them and possibly even violate privacy laws. According to the 2024 Cisco Data Privacy Benchmark Study, 94% of organizations say their customers won’t buy from them if data is not properly protected.

Following are strategies for collecting customer data effectively but ethically and maintaining customer trust.

1. Prioritize Transparency

Transparency is the cornerstone of ethical data collection. You really need to let your clients’ customers know what data you are collecting, why you are collecting it, and how you will protect that data. When you are collecting data, point your clients’ customers to this information on your clients’ websites. Make sure it is easily understandable.

Remember when Equifax announced a data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people in 2017? Customers remember.

2. Get a Thumbs Up

To ethically collect customer data, you need to get explicit consent. You can’t just assume it. To be clear, you should ask your client’s audience to opt in rather than just permit them to opt out. Also, make it easy for your client’s audience to withdraw consent should they change their minds.

3. Don’t Overdo It When Collecting Customer Data

Only collect the data you really need for the purposes you state to the customers. If you don’t need it, don’t collect it. This not only complies with legal frameworks like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) but also limits the risk of data breaches and misuse. By being conservative in your data collection, you gain your client’s customers’ trust that you aren’t using their information for undisclosed purposes.

4. Prioritize Security When Selecting Tools

When you are choosing your marketing technology solutions, data security should be a primary factor. Use tools and platforms for collecting customer data that have robust security measures in place to prevent data breaches and unauthorized access. This includes secure web forms, encrypted databases and secure socket layer (SSL) technology for website interactions. Regularly update your tools, because rest assured, security threats are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated.

5. Employ User-Friendly Interfaces

When customers have a good experience, they are likely to feel more comfortable give you their data. The user experience plays a significant role in ethical data collection. Forms and interfaces used for collecting data should be user-friendly and accessible. This includes clear labeling, reasonable request lengths and intuitive navigation.

6. Provide Multiple Channels for Collecting Customer Data

Offer your client’s customers various ways to share their information with you, such as through web forms, mobile apps in-store tablet and during service calls. Everybody is different, and multiple channels cater to different preferences and can increase the amount of data collected. However, you still must be consistent across all marketing channels in how data collection is handled \to avoid confusion and maintain trust.

7. Educate Customers About the Benefits of Data Sharing

According to Pew Research, 81% of the public say that the potential risks they face because of data collection by companies outweigh the benefits. You need to inform your client’s customers about how sharing data will benefit them so they are more likely to share. Explain how data collection can enhance their experience, lead to personalized offers or improve customer service. Once again, honestly and transparency is key.

8. Build Data Protection into Everything Right Out of the Box

Your client should adopt a Privacy by Design approach by incorporating data protection into the technology development stage of your products or services. In other words, privacy should be considered throughout the system, product lifecycle and data processes in order to significantly reduce the risks of breaches.

9. Don’t Get Too Comfortable

Conduct regular audits of your data collection practices to ensure they comply with legal standards and ethical guidelines. These audits can help identify and rectify potential issues before they become serious problems, maintaining the integrity of your data collection methods.

10. Keep Up to the Minute

Security threats and privacy laws are always evolving, so you need to diligently keep up. Stay informed about new data protection laws, emerging technologies and evolving public expectations. Regularly train your team on these aspects to help maintain high standards of data collection practices.

Concerned About Collecting Customer Data?

Data collection is an essential part of good digital marketing. But you need to do it ethically to maintain customer trust and comply with regulatory standards. By prioritizing transparency, securing explicit consent and using secure and user-friendly tools, you can responsibly gather the data your clients need.

If you would like a free consultation about collecting customer data and using it effectively, contact Umbrella through our website or call (866) 760-2638.

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